(cont’d from Part 1) . . .
The next morning I took a second test and then crept back to bed. Randy rolled over and hugged me more tightly than usual. He opened his eyes to look at me and I could see the fresh perspective on his face – he was a quite different man than the night before.
“I’m happy.” He said simply. We laid in bed a while whispering all our thoughts and fears and joys. We decided to tell my mom and dad as soon as we found a quiet moment.
We told my parents the brand new news a few hours before the family Christmas party in between setting out platters of food and restocking the beer. “This means that next Christmas we’re gonna have a baby around!” said my mother as tears lit up her blue eyes. As my family gathered for the party I know I must have been glowing the way they say that pregnant ladies do. I lingered in hugs, looked everyone in the eyes, listened deeply and enjoyed this rare evening with the joyful secret of my little stowaway.
The day before we made the journey to Buffalo a sad thing happened. My grandfather – Edward Otto Zindle Sr passed away. He was my last remaining grandparent and I always felt that in him was the seed of my musical ability. He was an entertainer – never publicly or professionally, just naturally – and he was always singing and telling jokes and stories with his harmonica to accompany him. Since my grandmother passed away a few years ago he just hasn’t been the same and his health had been on a slow spiral downward. There was always a certain weariness about him, even underneath the jokes, but a shadow had overtaken him in the last few years and he didn’t seem to want to shake it anymore.
My family is rather complicated and remarkably smaller than when I was a child. The last few Christmases have been the first in history that the Zindles didn’t gather to sing, eat and laugh. This was a great loss for me as I always treasured those family gatherings. My grandmother was a feisty Irish mother of nine children. She always joked that she couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, but she loved music and she was an instigator. She loved our traditional sing-along as much as I did, which is no surprise because her children all sang so beautifully, in layers of harmony. They would call out song requests, laughing at the lyrics somebody messed up, hamming up the “5th day of Christmas”, braving the high notes in “O Holy Night”, and adding every silly quip to Rudolph’s story. Grandpa could pick out any tune by ear and he would echo the melody on his harmonica. The Zindle family voices are so earthy and sweet – the sound of them harmonizing together is like no other sound I’ve heard. For me, it’s the vibrating resonant sound of home. This is where I learned the communion of music – to harmonize, perform and laugh in an environment of love. This only ever happened once a year and it has been years since the last time. But this year because of my grandfather’s passing, the family decided to set aside their busy lives and petty quarrels to cross the distance and gather together once again.
“Harmony – it’s not about what’s lasting or permanent. It’s about individual voices coming together for a moment. And that moment lasts the length of a breath.” (From ‘House of Cards”)
I was so grateful to spend the first few days of knowing in Buffalo soaking in the love and music of my family. I was trying to take it in slowly – to not allow my life to flash before my eyes in a dizzying vertigo. No Christmas gift I could receive could compare to this precious treasure I had been given, this news that would change everything. All my bells were ringing.
Later, to tell the story in a much simpler way, I wrote a song for my baby called “Carry You Along”.
Check out my recent post where I shared the song via video.